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Southern Speciaties eyes October promotions

With a Peruvian asparagus crop fairly similar to the one that hit the U.S. market last fall, Southern Specialties is gearing up for good promotions during the always-strong October time frame.

SouthernSpec “Ideally promotions should be coordinated at the peak of the crop production,” said Carlos Solf, director of procurement for the firm with headquarters in Pompano Beach, FL. “USA is a major destination for Peruvian asparagus and several holidays fall within peak seasonality.”

While he said October will be a good time to promote, he was reluctant to predict just how the season will play out because of the potential for mitigating factors. “The low market this year is prompting growers to fertize less and this may affect production in the coming months,” he said.

He also noted that in 2017 the rash of hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other islands in that region ultimately impacted the Peruvian asparagus industry. “Last year there were issues in September and October due to cargo planes going to rescue missions due to hurricanes. And also Amazon renting planes for the holidays. Hopefully no hurricane issues will surface this year. The holidays present some challenges due to high demand, but this is typical.”

Solf did not expect economic issues to play a big role in this year’s sales. He said the Peruvian currency is very stable at this time so the exchange rate should not adversely affect asparagus sales.

“Potentially, we could see more demand in the fourth quarter if the (U.S.) economy helps the average consumer.”

As for as Southern Specialties is concered, Solf said the company does expect to enjoy “a slightly higher market share” this season on its asparagus imports from Peru. Though white asparagus represents a small percentage of the weekly volume, Southern Specialties touts that it is the biggest importer of white grass to the United States. “We also market purple asparagus, which is also a relatively low volume item,” Solf said.

As far as industry trends are concerned, the Southern Specialties executive reported “a greater demand for value added presentaions in a variety of pack styles.” The company imports the vast majority of its Peruvian asparagus by air.